Bells and Whistles Spring Menu Tasting
We're back! You didn't forget about us, did you? The blog post silence has been longer than we'd like to admit, but don't worry...Luke and I have still been drinking and eating our way through Vancouver.Speaking of eating and drinking, one of our favourite bars in the city - Bells and Whistles - just refreshed their food offerings and tap list for spring. The Fraser Street craft beer oasis has been killing it since they opened, and we're always thrilled when they invite us out to their neck of the woods.
Luke and I started the evening off with the new Beere Brewing x Bells and Whistles collaboration brew, 'Glory Daze' East Coast IPA (6.5%). The team at Bells and Whistles are big fans of Beere and what they've been producing since their opening in 2017. When they were starting to build out their core tap list for spring, they reached out to the Nort Vancouver brewery about working together on a hazy IPA. And from there, Glory Daze was born. It's a high quality, crushable haze-juice that dreams are made of.
After we wet our whistles, food was in order! The bartender suggested we try the Chicken Waffle Poutine ($15) to start. Yes, you read that correctly. Chicken. Waffle. Poutine. If you think this was a heavy choice for an appetizer, you would be correct. I have absolutely zero regrets about this decision though.
Back to the beer. The crown jewel of Bells and Whistles is without a doubt their carefully curated, rotating tap list. The brains and palette behind this unreal lineup is local craft beer aficionado, Mark Galvani (known as @lupulist on Instagram). Fun fact: Mark is also the lucky individual who gets to meticulously update the beer boards that adorn the back walls of B&W. He informed us that it's a labour of love and takes a long time. We weren't surprised and think it's 100% worth the effort - those boards are a thing of beauty.
After Luke and I put back a pint and poutine, we asked Mark for his recommendation on what to try next. He pointed us towards the ‘Paradise Lost’ Guava Sour Ale (6%) from from Toronto-based Blood Brothers Brewing, and the ‘Horns Out’ Electrolyte ISA (4.8%) from the East Vancouver staple, Parallel 49 Brewing. Mark casually mentioned that there was only one 30 litre keg of Paradise Lost on tap in all of BC. Not a big deal. This limited release golden sour ale was refermented with a healthy amount of guava juice. It was very juicy and fruit-forward, with a solid tartness. As you can imagine, that 30L keg has since run dry, but you can try out Blood Brother’s ‘Shumei’ Hazy IPA which is on tap now (but likely not for long)!
Electrolyte ISA sounds weird right? Gatorade or beer?! Well, the name is quite fitting as this brew is a collaboration with the East Van Run Crew, which hosts a weekly running club on Mondays. The electrolytes add a slight saltiness to this beer which works well with the fruity aroma and flavours from the various hops. A refreshing pint, indeed.After a couple delicious beers and one helluva poutine, it was time to dig into a few of their new spring food items. We ordered two of their sandwiches to share. The Ribwich ($18) features slow-cooked pork rib, hickory sticks - yes, the ones from the bag! - slaw, grilled scallion aioli, tang bbq sauce, and pickles. It was the best thing I've eaten thus far at Bells and Whistles, and quite possibly the best pub sandwich I've ever had. I paired it with onion rings because ONION RINGS!! I just really like onion rings, and they were absolutely delicious.
We also ordered the California Club ($17), which was solid. I think most pubs have a burger/sandwich that features the combo of grilled chicken + avocado + bacon. Why? Because it’s dang tasty and understandably popular. And yes, Millennials love avocados. Lettuce, onion, tomato, cajun spices, jalapeno jack cheese, and lemon aioli round it out nicely. Paired with the Summer Greens salad, it was definitely a healthier option than the Ribwich and onion rings, but the lesser intriguing of the two.
If you thought we were going to call it a day at this point, you'd be wrong. More drinks were in order! Bells and Whistles offers more than just craft beer to it's thirsty patrons. Take our friends Windfall Cider, for instance. Windfall's second mainstay release, 'Hail Mary' Rose Cider (7%), was conveniently on tap. Hail Mary indeed, as this craft cider is fantastic. Fruity, floral, and dry. Oh, and if you were excited about that you can SOUND THE ALARMS because B&W just tapped a keg of Windfall's new small batch cider release, 'Lost and Found', featuring apples foraged from around Vancouver. If their first two releases were any indication of what's to come, I'm going to bet that this is a damn good cider.
We weren't leaving without dessert, and ordered the 'Strawberry Fields' soft serve ice cream ($6.50), complete with strawberries, birthday cake crumble, and rainbow sprinkles. If you think this sounds extra, it kind of is but you need to taste it for yourself!
After a three course/three drink meal, Luke and I had to try and work off some of those calories. Good thing they have arcade basketball...easily my favourite arcade game of all time. My claim to fame is getting the high score at Bells and Whistles many weekends ago. This night I was not so lucky...turns out that healthy buzz didn't help my jump shot.
We really enjoyed working our way through Bells and Whistles' refreshed food menu and beer list. If you haven't been here yet, it's must for foodies and craft beer/cider fans. They also host a plethora of tap takeovers from local and international breweries, and have two projector screens to keep sports fans like me entertained.A big thanks to the Bells and Whistles staff for hosting us. We had a fantastic time as always, and can't wait to come back!
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